Monthly Archives: August 2022

Slot car racing for the rest of us

I’ve always wondered about the slot car craze of the 70′. I heard so much about it. But I never did understand its lure. Unlike RC flying, slot car racing provides a racer with only one degree of control. You go fast, or even faster, until your slot car derails, and flies off a track.

After I bought a starter kit recently, I now appreciate why classic slot car racing can be a hobby, and not just a toy. I get that at the enthusiast end of the spectrum, die-hard collectors and racers build elaborate custom tracks and cars. I know that at the toy end of the spectrum, cheap slot car kits are available for $30 to keep toddlers entertained.

But the majority of potential customers for slot cars do not belong to either end of this spectrum. There is a reason why slot cars soon faded from the popular stage. Most casual users find the experience thrilling only for a brief moment. After an initial adrenaline rush, the game soon become repetitive and one-dimensional for casual users.

I have some ideas about what to do, with respect to issues I raised. I will talk about them at the end of this article. But first, I’ll document some of my experiences that you won’t find elsewhere online. Some of these pertain to a particular brand of HO-scale slot cars and tracks I bought. Some have to do with lack of accessories for casual racers such as myself. I modeled and 3D-printed these missing accessories. Readers with similar tracks and cars may download my 3D models, and print them on their own printers. Continue reading

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How to skate Mabrouk: 4 slalom components

This is part 2 of a series on Mabrouk. In this part I describe in excruciating details the four slalom components of Mabrouk previously summarized in What is Mabrouk: a slalom variant of Grapevine. I learned to skate a sustained Mabrouk by first practicing the four slalom components, and by connecting them with rudimentary transitions. I later refined these transitions to make the entire Mabrouk sequence flow, but that is for part 3 and beyond of this series.

Continue reading

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What is Mabrouk: a slalom variant of Grapevine

Mabrouk is a slalom variant of the figure skating move called Grapevine. The Grapevine skating pattern is described and diagramed as early as 1880 by Vandervell and Cox in “A System of Figure-skating”. The slalom version is presumably named after Swiss slalomer Eddy Mabrouk. Both Mabrouk and Grapevine employ the same exact 4 components, namely forward/backward criss-cross, and forward/reverse eagle.

While Mabrouk emphasizes curved patterns traced around equal-spaced cones forming a straight line, Grapevine strives to have the skater move in a streamline without giving explicit thoughts to slalom components. The difference can be seen in patterns they trace on the ground as presented below. Continue reading

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